April 8th, 2017 No comments
We decided to compare the top bulbs from the top manufacturers. We chose candidates by looking at results from internet polls, and comparing them with bulbs easy to find at national retailers. Here is a summary of our tests, ranked in our order of preference. All the bulbs we tested are A19 shape, around 800 lumens, and either 2700K or 3000K. The bulbs are Energy Star rated, unless noted.
Philips 9.5W Warm Glow (Home Depot)
As usual, a Philips light bulb is in first place for our favourite. This is a pretty great bulb that dimmed silently with a trailing-edge (ELV) dimmer or very quietly with a leading edge dimmer. Not only did it dim smoothly with no flicker, its colour temperature dropped just like an incandescent bulb. Barely-detectable EMI. This bulb used to be expensive but a recent price drop makes this bulb very affordable.
Hyperikon 9.5W 2700K High CRI (Amazon.ca)
This is a decent bulb that dimmed with no flicker or buzz on our trailing-edge (ELV) dimmer, and with no flicker and very quietly on our leading-edge dimmer. Its startup delay when fully dimmed was noticeable, but not annoying. One of the few bulbs available in a 4000K colour temperature.
Luminus 10W 3000K High CRI (Costco)
This bulb's dimming performance is mediocre - we noticed flickering at levels below 33% (trailing-edge ELV dimmer) or 25% (leading-edge dimmer) and buzzing at all levels with the leading-edge dimmer. With the low-end trim adjusted to eliminate the flicker, the bulb didn't have much of a dimming range. However, it looks great and is silent when not connected to a dimmer. We recommend this bulb over its 9.5W non-dimmable cousin which has an annoying sporadic flicker. This 3000K looks very obviously different from 2700k, so don't expect to mix them in the same fixture or even the same room.
Sylvania 8.5W 2700k non-dimmable (Canadian Tire)
If you want an affordable 2700k bulb that looks good and isn't dimmable, go for this one. $5 is on the expensive side for a non-dimmable bulb, but the light produced by this looks closer to the light produced by a tungsten bulb than Philips's 8.5W non-dimmable bulb. This bulb's 11,000 hour lifespan prevents it from being Energy Star rated.
Philips 9.5W SceneSwitch (Home Depot)
This is a great new innovative bulb from Philips. You can't use it with a dimmer, but you don't need it. Switch between 100%, 40%, and 10% just by turning the light on and off. Or, choose their model that changes colour temperatures and switch between 2200K, 2700K, and 5000K. If you want to switch between colour temperatures or don't have a neutral at your switch to install a trailing edge (ELV) dimmer, this is a great option. It is not Energy Star rated, unsure why though.
Feit 9.5W 2700K Enhance High CRI (Canadian Tire)
We find it difficult to visually tell the difference between 80 and 92 CRI, but our test equipment could. It is suitable for use in fully enclosed fixtures. This excellent bulb was disappointing only in its greater-than-average electromagnetic interference.
Philips 8.5W 2700K non-dimmable (Home Depot)
This bulb is only rated for an oddly specific 10,950 hours instead of 25,000+ like much of the rest of the bulbs we tested. However, this is offset by its lower power consumption and lower purchase price. The bulb appears slightly more red than tungsten bulbs so doesn't match perfectly, but is still pleasing to look at. This bulb produces a barely perceptible buzz, but is imperceptible from more than a foot away. Also has a slight flicker upon turning on, but then is flicker-free. Its lifespan prevents it from being Energy Star rated.
You may notice this list is smaller than last year's. Cree LED bulbs are no longer available in Canada, the Noma bulbs we liked are no longer available and have been replaced by bulbs that have received generally poor reviews, and the Sunbeam bulbs are no longer available (but were replaced at Costco by Luminus)